How to Fall-Proof your Home
Did you know, according to the National Institute of Aging, that 6 out of 10 falls happen at home, where we spend most of our time and neglect to consider safety? Most of these falls could be prevented by making some simple changes to your home. At Senior.com, we are experts in fall prevention and consider it our mission to help you live as independently as possible, for as long as possible.
We suggest you invite a friend or family member to make this safety assessment with you. Often it takes a 2nd pair of eyes to see hazards you no longer consider. Remember, we are fall-proofing your home so you can live independently as long as possible, so accepting change is required. Being proactive now will allow you to have more freedom later.
- Arrange your furniture so you have plenty of room to walk freely. Remove items from stairs and hallways.
- Remove anything that could cause you to trip or slip while walking. Pay special attention to clutter, small furniture, pet bowls or beds, electrical cords, throw rugs and standing lamps.
- If possible, remove throw rugs permanently. At the very least, secure carpets to the floor and stairs. Use only non-slip rugs or attach rugs to the floor with double-sided tape.
- Use non-slip items in the bathroom. Install non-slip flooring if possible. Add a non-slip mat or strips in the bathtub or shower.
- Add a raised commode to your toilet because most falls occur in the bathroom. Adding a raised commode or grab bars on either side of the toilet can reduce this risk substantially. No one wants to be found on the floor of a bathroom so address the bathroom first.
- Install grab bars in the shower or tub. Consider adding a safety pole if you prefer not to put permanent holes in your tile or walls.
- Install safety poles next to beds or couches where you need assistance getting up.
- Add a reclining lift chair. Lift chairs have proven to help people stay in their homes longer. When you struggle to get out of a chair you put too much weight on your arms and shoulders often causing injury or a fall. If an injury occurs, you are looking at increased caregiving and possibly the loss of your independence. A lift chair gets you standing fast, safely. In addition, our lift chairs are so comfortable you can sleep in them all day or night.
- Add a bed assist bar or handle to help you get in and out of your bed.
- Move items in high cupboards to lower places so you are not climbing on unstable stools. Get a “reacher” so you can grab items out of reach.
- Look at the entrances to your home and add ramps and hand rails where necessary. Consider the height of thresholds and have them altered for smooth walking or rolling over.
- Consider how slippery your floor can be when wet. Use only non-skid was on waxed floors. Always clean up spills right away. Assess whether you need to add low profile carpet to a room for safety and warmth. One drawback to carpet is shoes can trip if you don’t pick up your feet. However, slippery hard floors cause more injuries than soft carpets.
- Add lighting to dimly lit rooms and on the stairs. Use automatic nightlights in hallways, stairways, bathrooms, kitchen and outdoors. Use light bulbs that have the highest wattage recommended for the fixture. Since lighting is often referenced after a major fall, it’s important to proactively inspect every room at night to see potential hazards.
- Place a lamp next to your bed along with a flashlight for emergencies. Consider setting up your lights on a smart-home system such as Google or Amazon’s Alexa so you can verbally command your lights.
- Add an additional handrail on the wall side of your stairway. Make sure you can hold either side of the stairs as a guide.
- Keep your cell phone on you in the event that you do fall, you can call for help. Or consider wearing a call-service-button for help.
- Add automobile aids so you don’t have an fall getting in or out of your car.
- Wear non-skid, rubber-soled, low-heeled shoes or lace-up shoes with non-skid soles that fully support your feet. It is important that the soles are not too thin or too thick. Avoid flip-flop style sandals. Do not walk on stairs or floors in socks or slippers.
- Stay physically active! Lower body strength and balance exercises PREVENT FALLS. Find low cost fitness classes at your local senior center, YMCA, church, gym or city.
Our favorite shop to find Fall Prevention items is Senior.com. Use coupon “Senior10” for $10 off your order! Senior.com always offers Free Shipping and 15% off to all active military or veterans.
About the Author
As a Senior.com Director of Marketing, Kimberly Johnson is passionate about providing Seniors with the resources and products to live well. Kimberly is a seasoned caregiver to her family and breast cancer survivor. Her father battled ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease, for 13 months before passing. Today Kimberly lives in Southern California near her 104-year-old grandmother, widowed mother, a mentally disabled sister and second sister who is also a breast cancer survivor. She is happily married to her husband of 24 years and they have 3 children.View All Articles